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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-06-2014, 01:28 AM   #41
Swiff
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Nice write up
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:05 PM   #42
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I can't wait to buy my buddies 330ci. Just hoping maintenance costs don't bite me in the a**!
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:39 PM   #43
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I can't wait to buy my buddies 330ci. Just hoping maintenance costs don't bite me in the a**!
Maintenance is a must, just take them little bites at a time. Hit the priorities first.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:57 PM   #44
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Nice write up. I just got my new old 2001 330xi in November 2013. By what I have been reading I think I was very fortunate (or not) with this purchase.

The car had 147,500 mi, and truly, I think it has everything original, except tires and brake pads. The car looks great, everything the way it looks in the catalog. I took it the dealer to give me a full assessment of what needed to be done:
- Lower control arms and bushings
- Rear springs broken and shocks leaking
- Oil filter housing gasket leak - did it myself!
- Vanos pipe leak - did it myself
- A couple of oil sensors bad and leaking
- Passenger side engine mount worn
- A couple of rims bent - but not too bad
- Rain sensor not working
- Remote key not working - I fixed myself with a non-rechargeable battery
- A couple of power steering hoses leaking but not too bad
- Coolant temperature sensor leaking - I replace the o-ring
- Coolant bleeder screw leaking - replaced
- Bad brake rotors

Good thing is that after I do all this, I'll have a great car for a long time. Bad thing is $$$.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:17 AM   #45
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GREAT post!!! Thanks! I just purchased a 2000 323i BEFORE i stumbled onto this, and this is going to be my new reference guide!
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:53 PM   #46
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Great post! and I was thinking about selling. Let's see if I can put on another 100K. Respect
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:23 PM   #47
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Great job.

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Old 02-13-2014, 04:02 PM   #48
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Added a downloadable checklist on the first post.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:03 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Mango View Post
Great work and great thread. This will help a lot of new people.


-Back on the ZHP, you say beefier suspension. I think you should clarify--maybe get Alex323ci (TGK) to chime in with specifics. ZHP control arms have solid outer balljoints, larger diameter sway bars (than non sport package/early sport package),!
The early E46 sport package cars (99/00) have the largest diameter sway bars. They came from the factory with 24mm front sway bar, and a 19mm rear. Compared to the later sport package and ZHP which came with 23.5mm front and 18mm rear.

Aside from the M3 of course.



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Old 02-15-2014, 04:13 PM   #50
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Love this post

This is by far one of the most helpful threads I have seen.

I should be picking up my e46 from CarMax this week.

I have already checked to make sure I have the ULEV engine

and the link to the cooling system was ........well ....COOL!

not nearly as much as I would have feared it would be.

This forum in itself is also very packed with information

I look forward to learning more about my vehicle and perhaps
even DIY a few things here and there
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:32 PM   #51
KaktusJaque
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diverse View Post
This is by far one of the most helpful threads I have seen.

I should be picking up my e46 from CarMax this week.

I have already checked to make sure I have the ULEV engine

and the link to the cooling system was ........well ....COOL!

not nearly as much as I would have feared it would be.

This forum in itself is also very packed with information

I look forward to learning more about my vehicle and perhaps
even DIY a few things here and there
GL on your car! Post some pictures when you can.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:32 PM   #52
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can someone talk about the 320i.
this was available in canada and is very common.
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Old 02-22-2014, 10:49 PM   #53
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:12 PM   #54
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Last edited by generalvp; 03-13-2014 at 02:14 PM. Reason: wrong thread
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:56 PM   #55
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A Buyers Guide for the E46 BMW

Page 2


The post on page #1 got to the point of too many characters, so I am splitting this up. This section is page 2 of the first post on the first page.

Maintenance and Servicing
I cannot believe the amount of posts I see on this forum board on people who just bought (or are getting ready to buy) one of these cars and will argue with members trying to help them with maintenance recommendations on these cars. They would rather focus on mods, or first perform maintenance that will not really make their car more reliable, and they will argue this until they are blue in the face. The cold hard truth to the matter is that we really don't give a $hit about your car. You're the only one that does. Do whatever the hell you want. We are here sharing and offering our experience and our knowledge so that you will have a better experience with E46 car. If you can't afford the maintenance that is needed, then you should not be considering one of these cars. I have seen over and over again some bloke come on here and post something to the effect, "Hey my car was running in the red on the temp gauge when I was on the highway, I pulled off on the next exit, now my car won't start. Will I get raped if I take this in to the shop to get fixed?" This person just bought a new hood, Aftermarket Air Filter and a cool exhaust system, or they were just barely able to fork out the $4,000 to buy one of these cars and could not afford anything else. In either case they could not or chose not to replace the cooling system. Sorry to say in this situation, the engine is toast. A warped head will cost you something north of $3,000.00 to fix on these cars, possibly more.

mpjgolf1, a member here who owns a dealership that specializes in high end cars has a formula that I agree to as well, and it is this. To have a good E46, you can expect it to cost you about $10,000. So if you buy one for $7,000 you should expect to spend $3,000 after your purchase to get it in good condition. 7+3=10, Or if you buy one of these cars for $3,000, you should expect to spend $7,000 to get it in good shape, so I think you get the idea here. Its not like you have to immediately take your car to a shop, or put it in your garage and drop a load of cash to get it there, you can do it over time as time and money permits. However, the one thing you should do right after you get the car is to replace the entire cooling system if there are no records of it ever being done. This one issue might cause you to lose your entire investment in the matter of seconds. If DIY this yourself, you can expect to spend $300 to $500 in parts. Its relatively easy to do yourself too. That $500 investment is like a little insurance policy, and a lot less expensive than loosing the entire car or having to purchase or rebuild an engine. I recommend the complete cooling system replacement the same week you get the car.

Understand also that I am not saying to do ALL your maintenance before you start putting on the fun stuff, Mix it up as you go along. But like I stated above, the cooling system is a first thing must.

This subject of maintenance however is really for "after the purchase" but it needs to be included here so you can have an idea of what to expect AFTER the purchase. This could be a deal breaker if you know what needs to be done and know what it takes to keep these cars in tip top shape. This is good info to know before you get into the car. It has been mentioned on this forum that in order to have a reliable Daily Driver, you can expect to spend around $4,000 a year. Many have done it with less, some with more. In any case, you will have some work to do with your new car. That is not the scope of this post, but you will need to know that if you do buy one of these cars there are certain things you can expect to do right off the bat for a car that has 75,000 miles or more. Buying mods and upgrades should only be done after maintenance is done...I know, it's hard to put off the fun stuff, but maintenance is the higher priority.

Here are just a few examples of what you should expect to do on your car after your purchase.

Cooling System
First things first, replacement of the entire cooling system. E46Fanatic Mango has created a awesome post which is "stickied" at the top of the General E46 Forum section. you can read his post here http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914109

Gaskets, Grommets, and Seals
Rubber components in these cars begins to get hard as plastic between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. So expect to change the Oil Filter Housing Gasket (a major cause of oil on your driveway) and the Valve Cover Gasket (a major cause of burning oil smell in your car) There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to do this. There are many other rubber parts that get hard that need to be checked out too. One example are the Air Pump Mounts. There are three of them and they cost around $2.00 each, but the old ones got so hard they flat out break.

Other Servicing
There are many things to do after your purchase, and again that is outside the scope of this post, but to get you started here are a few links below to give you an idea (shout outs to jfoj, Mango and Solidjake for these informative posts they created).

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501 fuel pump
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=923563 After Purchase Guide
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1006393 PA Soft

Here is a link to all the Owners Manuals for the E46 models for the North American Market.
http://www.linquist.net/motorsports/bmw/3manuals/


Insurance
Something you will need to consider is the fact that a small accident could "total" your car. When I say total your car I mean in the terms of insurance. These cars are very safe in many types of accidents. I've seen videos of these cars going over the side of a rocky hill and rolling many times, and the driver walks away. No I mean that insurance companies will total the car in accidents that seem to not be all that bad because of the cost to fix these cars exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the vehicle. E46Fanitic NOVAbimmer is a claims adjuster and has many posts on the subject, you can click on his name to bring up some reading on some of his posts.

Insurance, varies greatly on region, your driving record and other various conditions, but overall Insurance coverage for these cars is not bad. For me it was only a few dollars more than my full size pickup truck of the same year and identical full coverage for my two 325s. However you will have to take into account the rates for the type of car you are considering. I will be using myself as an example Age Group is 40-50. I have no accidents or tickets within the past 10 years. I have the multi vehicle discount, and just my wife as an additional driver, also no accidents or tickets within the past 10 years.

For Comparison per 6 Months...
My 325 Ci is $339.00
My 325 Xit is $340.00
My GMC Truck $335.00

If I were to get a E46 ZHP I could expect to pay about $345.00 every 6 Months, hardly any change from my Ci
If I were to get a E46 M3 I could expect to pay about $455.00 every 6 Months
If i were to get a E46 M3 ZCP, I would expect to pay about $474.20 every 6 Months

So you can see some of the differences in insurance rates. If you are younger, have any accidents and/or tickets on your record, you can expect to pay considerably more.


This website and forum
This site is the best resource on the web for the E46 BMW. The people and their posts on this site have educated, instructed, and saved people thousands of dollars over the years. I think that the people here may even know more about this car than BMW does! You can show your appreciation for the education and the time and money this site has saved you by becoming a paid member. It's a nice way to support this site and to say thank you to the community and its not that much. See this link http://forum.e46fanatics.com/payments.php


Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means. I relied on info and posts from other E46Fanatics and research and my own work that I have done. I am just sharing my experiences so you can make an educated decision whether or not one of these cars is for you. Continue to research this car using the links I provided and do your own internet searches. There are many people on this site that are more educated in these cars than I am, and they are willing to help too. Always use the search feature before asking your question. Chances are high that your question has been asked and answered before, and be sure to thank those that do offer their help.

Thanks for reading!

Additions I am working on are:
Moonroof Problems
Strut Tower Mushrooming
Convertibles
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2004 Coupe 325 Ci (Mrs. KJ's Ride)

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Old 03-25-2014, 04:00 PM   #56
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:32 PM   #57
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Newbie


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Are you looking to buy, or did you just recently purchase one?
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:03 PM   #58
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Awesome write up, glad I stopped here first. I'm actually going to be headed on a 1 and 1/2 hr drive tomorrow to see an 2005 6speed M3. I'll be sure to bring this checklist with me as the car has just over 80k on the clock. I spoke with the dealer for a while today and the gentleman is saying the only things the car needs are front brakes and tires which will be replaced before sale.

Anymore immediate red flags that should make me hop back in the car and head home?
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:54 AM   #59
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+1
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:59 AM   #60
KaktusJaque
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Awesome write up, glad I stopped here first. I'm actually going to be headed on a 1 and 1/2 hr drive tomorrow to see an 2005 6speed M3. I'll be sure to bring this checklist with me as the car has just over 80k on the clock. I spoke with the dealer for a while today and the gentleman is saying the only things the car needs are front brakes and tires which will be replaced before sale.

Anymore immediate red flags that should make me hop back in the car and head home?
Thank you Agent83. 80k is real good for these cars. if you feel it passes all your visual checks, then I strongly suggest getting a PPI at that point.

Unless the Dealer specializes in BMWs or otherwise has some other interest in BMWs, they usually dont know $hit about E46s. They know how to sell cars. So most of the time I dismiss what a dealer has to say and rely on what I know. If I have a chance to, I will post questions I may have here where the real experts are. Besides, no one here has any vested interest in the car you are looking at so they are not going to say something just for you to get the car.

Good Luck, take some pictures, get the vin and post it here and people would be happy to help you out.
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